Waking up, the morning after a night out on Broadway, Nashville, loooong on bourbon, the only sound to be heard on the RV was the humming of last night’s tunes. The humming turned to whistling then raucous singing.  This city’s nickname is ‘Music City’ after all, and we couldn’t believe just how good the quality of the live music had been.

The Broadway strip is an assault on the senses, If it’s not the seemingly hundred thousand lumens beaming out though the giant-sized neons, it’s the pounding music oozing out of the venues, pulling you in like a tractor beam to drink, dance and sing out loud.

Having not been able to get in to Peg Leg’s or Jack’s (due to an early Monday and Tuesday finish we weren’t aware of!), we kick-started our night at Rippy’s, a three-floored bar-come-restaurant-come-live music venue sitting on the corner of 5th Ave, and Broadway. The top floor is open plan and throws caution to the wind for actual windows, allowing the sounds to pour onto the street and the customers to feel like they’re a part of the whole city’s experience.

We tucked into a spread of meaty baby back ribs (the loin extended one whole inch from the bone, making us first think it was a half chicken it was so thick and juicy), hand sliced smoked pork loin which is finished on the grill, chicken wings and a tonne of fries and potato salad sides. The highlight was probably the sliced pork loin, deep smokiness and really moist. The rest passed for average, but the ice cold PBR and music compensated just fine. Interestingly, PBR in Kentucky is seen as shit, weak trucker brew, in stark contract to its hipster status back home.

Big ass baby backs 

Big ass baby backs with PHAT loin
Next stop; The Stage, an iconic venue which has hosted a who’s who of American music legends. The bourbon and cokes flowed as we were treated to a bouncing American rock/country/Motown set set from The Matt Gray Band - it was like being back at Red’s. Van Halen’s Jump into Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing into Stevie Wonder’s Sir Duke and on and on….leaving hoarse and liquored up, we jumped on the shuttle taxi back to the RV park…

The Matt Gray Band

As we shuffled onboard, two long-haired stoner dudes, looking akin to American pop band Hanson, slinked past us and took a seat. No sooner had we left, but they realised this wasn’t the bus they wanted and called out to stop. Well, the whole bus was high on bourbon and beats, and collectively destroyed these lads: “Fuck you Hanson” cried out a bloke. Clearly stoned, one of them flicked a limp and weak bird back to the passengers. All of sudden the whole bus roared a much louder “Fuuuuuck you Haaaanson” and broke into the band’s famous “MMMBop” before banging on the windows thrusting Vs as the bus zoomed away. Killed ‘em.

However, this bus journey was set to be ill-fated for us too. The following ‘cue joint recommendation – McKenzies – we received from a big-necked rolypoly Canadian was a real stinker. If Colorado thinks this place kicks out ‘awesome barbecue’ shhhiiiiiiiiiitt, we ain’t never ever going there.

There was early promise with this old school smoker parked up outside. But this is where it ended.  It’s a fast casual style where they weigh out your portions. But oh Jesus. The worst barbecue we ever tasted.

False promise of good ‘cue

False promise of good 'cue

The giveaway was that everything was wrapped in foil and had probably been kept under heaters for several hours, steaming in its own juices. (At Red’s we carry out four to five smokes a day, so everything is fresh.)


The spare ribs had a limited dry rub with no BBQ sauce. The meat was under smoked and tasted like it was roasted. It broke up and was heinously mushy.

Spare ribs

The pulled chuck joint; well, I could eat a pair of Espadrilles that were moister.

The links were dreadful. A fine grain, tasting like a cold beef hotdog. It was a weird consistency, like mechanically reclaimed product (MRP)

Brisket and sides Links

The crackling had been cooked in an oven, then sweated in a plastic sealed bag. It was dripping when taken out.

Dill pickles. Both the Hot Mama and Original were gag-makingly vile.

Hot Mama dill pickle

Dill pickle

And the list goes on.  Beans awful, slaw weak, potato salad vastly too sweet but not offensive. Perhaps the only saving grace, and the best part of a god awful, dreadful meal, was the southern apple pie, similar to a cornish pasty, but deep fried!

This is probably tastier than everything we had. And I don’t know what it is.

We have no idea what this is
The only way to freshen our mouths and bring some levity to a pup of a joint? Buy some Grizzly spearmint chewing tobacco and watch bumble bees have an orgy.

Onwards to Memphis…

Bringing Some Regional BBQ Styles To The Fight

Tis Red’s third appearance this Friday, in the ring at the most excellent Friday Food Fight….

We’ve given you a taster from our holy smokers, now it’s time to go all regional BBQ style on your cake holes.

Without further ado, here for your praise and worship, is our Pitmaster’s Friday Food Fight Good Book.



  • Alabama Chicken, a quarter smoked chicken, glazed with a creamy and tangy Alabama white BBQ sauce
  • Kentucky Sliced Mutton, smoked for 12hrs and regularly brushed with a punchy vinegary mop, and served up with a Kentucky style BBQ sauce
  • Texas Beef Brisket, smoked for 20hrs and rubbed with Red’s take on a Dalmatian rub, English mustard, brown sugar and then spritzed regularly with apple juice to enhance the circle of truth smoke ring and caramelised bark
  • Kansas city Baby Back Ribs, smoked for 4hrs in Red’s signature rib rub and then glazed in our Unholy BBQ sauce, sweet, sticky and smoky with a hint of heat


  • Hoagie: Fresh Artisan sub roll
  • Slaw: The usual suspects, but with no mayo, instead dressed with a sweet and tangy yellow mustard and coriander dressing
  • Baked mac n cheese: An American classic, topped with more cheese and bread crumb and grilled.
  • Pit beans: Beans, Unholy BBQ sauce, herbs & spices and pulled meat, left in our holy smokers for 20hours to turn glorious
  • Potato salad: Red’s version of a BBQ staple, with added bacon, celery and capsicum peppers





Ribs For His & Her Pleasure

In George Orwell’s famous allegorical novel, Animal Farm, the beasts revolt, take over the farmyard, and adopt the Seven Commandments of Animalism. For those not bunking off and smoking a fag behind the bike sheds, you’ll remember the first one; ‘All Animals Are Equal’.

As the story unfolds dissension takes hold and the pigs snatch control, eventually scrawling a change to the hallowed commandments: ‘All Animals Are Equal, Yet Some Are More Equal Than Others’.

And it’s this message that can be said of ribs too.

All Ribs Are Equal, But Red’s Ribs Are More Equal Than Others. And there’s a reason for this…

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Home-smoked juicy beef rib recipe

So, you may have caught James and Scott on last week’s Sunday Brunch giving a BBQ masterclass to Simon Rimmer and Tim Lovejoy, with special guest, Adam Richman (Man vs. Food).

We ran out of time, and loads of you asked for this amazing summer recipe for home-smoked juicy ribs, so here it is.

As ever, any feedback or questions, post them here or on social and we’ll get involved.

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Behold, Red’s To Go!

Yes Believers, Red’s True Barbecue is taking on the mighty Takeout Menu.

We’ve picked your most popular dishes and drinks and squeezed them into takeout packaging, for those who prefer eating their BBQ at home, in the car, on the bus or simply outside our front door!  It’s a limited menu to keep service as fast as possible, so some dishes haven’t made it due to travelling times and bumpy rides.

Thou shalt feed upon Little Boxes, BBQ Boxes, Sandwiches (see below), Humble & Divine Sides and Sweet Things. Once fed, thee can bathe in the Devil’s Waters, as we have included Craft Beers and Wine for purchase also.

Take out is not always available. When our smokers are empty, they’re empty, so some dishes will sell out and be unavailable for take out. For full descriptions of our dishes please visit

All orders must be paid for in full at point of order by debit/credit card. You will be given a collection slot, this will be a minimum of 1hr and possibly longer at peak times. If the kitchen isn’t being slammed, then we’ll do our best to give you a faster pick up time.

Bear in mind that not all of our food will remain in premium condition for long. If you’re ordering a ‘wet’ product such as a Pulled Pork Sandwich, it should be consumed promptly to avoid disappointment.

For Leeds Takeout, please call 0113 834 5834.

May meat be with you, always….

Let there be Jobs – in Manchester!

Meat Your Calling

How do free burgers and smoked ribs, followed by white water rafting sound as a job for 2014? Well it could be yours.

Red’s in Manchester city centre is looking to fill 85 new jobs this month, including kitchen, waiting and bar staff as well as hostesses.

Our new site, which is set to open at 22 Lloyd Street on Albert Square, will bring Red’s truly authentic ‘low and slow’ barbecue cooking  to Manchester for the first time. Inspired by the origins of deep south USA, cuts of pork, beef, chicken and sausage are marinated in traditional rubs and slow cooked for up to 24hrs in custom built Oklahoman smokers, rendering a superior taste and texture to the meat.

We’re delighted to be opening in Manchester. The city has some of the best restaurants and bars in the north, so we’re keen to hear from the local talent to join our flock.

We’re a young, fast paced business.  At the heart of what we do is spreading the gospel of American true barbecue, and having a load of fun along the way. Our culture directly reflects this attitude. We regularly take staff on extreme sports outings, including wake-boarding and white water rafting, everyone gets free BBQ cooked up by our famed Pit Masters, and we’re big on training.

Interested job seekers should contact  Red’s True Barbecue Mcr opens in early February.

Red’s Barbecue Meatloaf recipe




1/2 cup of your favourite BBQ sauce

350g ground beef

150g raw smoked sausage meat

1 large onion, chopped

1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 medium jalapeno, chopped

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 large clove garlic, chopped

1 egg

½ tsp Salt

½ tsp Pepper

12 rashers smoked streaky bacon, thick cut.

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Brooklyn Brewery Pop Up Dive Bar

If you’re a fan of craft beer, low and slow smoked meat and stripped-back unpretentiousness, you’re in for a treat, if only fleeting.

Cult New York craft brewers, Brooklyn Brewery has teamed up with Red’s True Barbecue to bring a slice of downtown, back street Brooklyn to Leeds, with the brief opening of the eponymous Brooklyn Brewery Pop Up dive bar.

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Burnt Ends Tuesday

So, it’s Tuesday and in any other restaurant that would just mean it’s the day after Monday or that it’s 24 hours before Wednesday.  However, at Red’s it means its Burnt Ends Tuesday, the one-day of the week you can enjoy our triple-smoked nuggets of meaty perfection.

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Pilgrimage to Bristol’s Grillstock Festival

So, we should have posted this ages ago but we forgot – oops – anyway, better late than never hey.

Train to BBQ FestivalOur second BBQ pilgrimage began on a train down south with a bottle of rum – start as we mean to go on!

Once we arrived, we got to try some outrageously good British BBQ – ribs, chicken, brisket, pulled pork, the lot! Plus Scott was a judge of the Lamb round in the BBQ comp so he got to taste the best of the best, picking up some pointers along the way.

Competition food is something else! I swear to god someone smoked a whole salmon and presented it on a tray of jelly ‘sea’!

As well as eating our way through some truly cracking food, we also managed to brush shoulders with some true legends in the BBQ world. Now we’re not ones to name drop but we spent most of the weekend chatting to Dr BBQ who, for those of you who don’t know, is essentially the king of the barbecue world! He’s on CBS, Food Network, The NFL Network and many more tv channels in the US and he’s won over 300 awards for his BBQ – this guy is a don! Needless to say we asked him as much as we could and we will be bringing that knowledge straight back home to Red’s.

Beers were flowing, food was incredible, met some legend, all in all a pretty top weekend. So we headed back to the homeland with a belly full of barbecue, a mind enriched with even more holy barbecue knowledge and a bit of a hangover!

Finally, we have an outside seating area!

Dear Believers,

On a sunny Monday 8 July ’13, we launched our outdoor seating area on the cobbles just outside the Corn Exchange and in front of Red’s BBQ in Leeds. Being a BBQ joint, we wanted to create a relaxed space, with the use of large picnic tables which are great for sharing. Being on cobbles, these benches also should provide stability that regular tables and chairs just don’t!

As we are in the UK, we have also included the use of parasols above each table – just in case. On that note, if it does start raining and we have a full restaurant, unfortunately we can’t relocate diners inside. The outside area is a separate seating space with it’s own physical queue, unlike the main restaurant’s paper wait list system. This means there may be a separate queue during busy, or sunny periods. If there is any confusion, please ask our staff.

What else is different for the outside space? Well, the food menu is similar but the drinks menu is a bit more limited. This is mainly due to the need to reduce glassware on the street. Don’t worry, most of the our big sellers are available, but they’ll be served in the true picnic BBQ style – disposable glassware! As it’s a more transient space, we require our customers to pay up front for their orders. Further licensing restrictions (as with the restaurant) means we can’t sell booze without food, so you’ll need to order a “substantial meal” if you want to sit out for a drink in the sun.

This space will open at 12:00 midday everyday, and close around 21:00 or when we run out of light, heat and/or meat. Depending on how it goes this summer, we may design in some lighting and heat for next season. Your feedback on improvements is welcomed!




Red’s True Barbecue

Why do we run out of meat towards the end of the day?

When we launched Red’s True BBQ in Sept last year, we knew we’d be breaking new ground for the Leeds (and UK) dining market.  After working in the US market for about 7 years, we’ve done our fair share of research  into this unique style of food prep.  “Low ‘n Slow BBQ” is exactly that, low temperature and a slow pace with the addition of sweet smoke.  We take huge cuts of meat such as brisket and pork shoulder (and smaller for that matter) and cook them in our custom made Oklahoman smokers for anything between 15 and 21 hours.  Our beef and pork ribs take up to 8 hours to cook.  We are a very busy restaurant, so our smokers are at full capacity at all times (unless they’re being cleaned).

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Nov 2012 US BBQ Pilgrimage – for those who missed it in real time on Facebook!!

1st Installment:

Our BBQ Pilgrimage 2012 began with four of us flying from Manchester (bumped into the Leelex boys on their way to Mexico City for their “research” trip to enhance their new project at Trinity) via Philly to Raleigh, North Carolina, the first of 5 states this time round. We had a slight pause in Philadelphia so what better to do than try the famous Philly Cheese Steak at Chickie and Pete’s. The bread was soft and the meat had the right texture (not sure it’s for everyone though, most Brits might not totally get it), although we agreed it could have benefitted from the addition of onions and peppers and a bit more cheese sauce it was proper tasty. Crab fries were interesting though. When we asked (in a rather dopey fashion), they informed us that it’s not actually crab, more the seasoning they use on the crabs in their region, but put on fries. Gullible isn’t the word!

After a quick, turbulent flight (in what felt like a 1920’s prop plane) we landed in Raleigh, the home of whole hog BBQ. JD loves cars and as soon as we saw the pre-booked Rav 4 mid-sized SUV at the car rental spot we knew there would be an issue, we asked the Hertz lady to find us something that would be more appropriate for this type of road trip and so JD wouldn’t complain. In true Red’s style, we agreed a pimping Escalade with some serious rims would be a much better choice. Screw the extra $35 a day! We jumped in and screeched away thinking we were rolling hard, only to realize that the hand break was still on. As JD was driving, we blame this squarely on him – Numpty!

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Thank you, and a note about bookings and queues at Red’s….

So, we’re into our 4th week now at Red’s and to say we’ve been busy doesn’t come close!!

First of all we want to thank you all for your custom so far, without you none of this would be possible. Your response to our opening has completely blown our minds, we hoped it would be popular but we could never have realised just how much. Although service wasn’t as good as we’d hoped in the first week we now have 3 times the staff levels we started with and we operate our kitchen 24 hours a day to ensure that your waiting times for food are as short as possible, on really busy nights there can be a short wait but we are constantly working on things to get it right every time

We also want to address the issue of bookings and queues at Red’s.

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Booking for groups of eight or more only.

Red’s is a ‘fast-casual’ restaurant. This means ‘no-reservations’ – first-come-first-served.

This is a growing trend, but it can lead to lengthy queues. Advocates say that this is the fairest way, but it can be a pain for groups who would occupy more than a single table (8+).

We want it to be as simple as possible to walk in and eat, but naturally, we also want to keep our groups happy.

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Final stages of fit out…soft opening phase next…

It’s been a tumultuous four weeks since Leeds’ only BBQ joint began our fit out phase, and we’re now in the final stages of week 5 (not to mention the 2 years of meticulous planning!!). The team has done well to puzzle in all the kit that makes Red’s Low ‘n Slow True Barbecue (Red’s BBQ or just Red’s will do!) that little bit special. The space at Cloth Hall St is cosy to say the least, but the location at the top of Call Lane makes it all worthwhile.

The smokers are in and we think they look rather impressive. Our diners will be able to see them in all their glory as we have an open kitchen design in place. The wood burning BBQ pit is also installed, under the front canopy near the main restaurant order point. Much like Salt Lick BBQ in Austin, we believe adding that outdoor charred flavour to our meat is key to an authentic taste.

We’ve started our bar staff training and everyone seems to be gelling nicely. Passionate staff are key to transferring that same passion to our customers, and we want our customers to be as passionate about BBQ as we are. We’ll be training our staff for two weeks before our doors open. It may seem a long time, but the reality is that we have an extensive food menu and our drinks list has been matched very carefully to our dishes, so two weeks is about right when considering all the taste profiles and flavour analysis required.

Some of our followers have asked when can they see the menu. Well, we’re keeping that under wraps until Friday 7th Sept around lunch time just ahead of the Press Launch on Saturday 8th Sept and Public Opening on Sunday 9th Sept. We don’t want to let the cat out the bag too early! Rest assured, there are some beauties on the menu. As I said, we’ve been working on this for two years! In fact, I think I may have mentioned something about our wings in our previous blog. Well, most chicken wings weight about 80g each. They come from a 1-1.5kg chicken. Our jumbo wings weigh in at about 150g each, and come from older farm-assured (and happy!) chickens which weigh well over 2kg each. So our wings aren’t the piddly little morsels you sometimes find at other food outlets. Nor are our wings tasteless or gelatinous. Our wings are rubbed with our custom seasoning, smoked for 3 hours, glazed, smoked for another hour and then crisped up on our wood burning pit over hickory. Oh, and we serve them a little different too. Wings and a Bucket O Beer should, by rights, be a top seller….

SM out.

Custom made smokers at the ready!

It’s been a long time in the planning, but all our sourcing and design efforts to bring real barbecue to these shores has finally paid off.  We don’t take barbecue lightly and, as such, importing real wood smokers designed and manufactured in Oklahoma, USA is the first step in making sure we bring the best authentic style of barbecue to our flock of meat lovers.

So, back to my initial point.  Our 300 pound capacity smokers (2 of them!)  have arrived in the UK and have cleared customs without any glitches.  The restaurant space we are building near the Corn Exchange in Leeds for our first site calls for a more industrial look and feel, so we felt compelled to add some custom elements to our smokers, including a checker-plate finish which you won’t find anywhere else, including the US! Our hickory and apple wood, which are indigenous to the US, will be on the next transatlantic shipment and should arrive in the UK towards the end of August, just in time for our soft launch period beginning Monday 3 September 2012.  A truly divine week, and one that our followers are already making some noise about.  Let’s hope we actually have a soft start, don’t want to be breaking a new kitchen in with massive queues of meat fanatics down Call Lane!

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